An amendment to direct $5 million to the national STEM education program, STARBASE, passed the House of Representatives June 20th as a facet of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act by a vote of 340 to 73; it is waiting for approval by the Senate.
Congressman Alan Lowenthal authored the legislative amendment to support the youth program, providing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) to underserved students nationwide. STARBASE has a program facility at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base (JFTB) in the 47th district that will benefit from the increased funding.
The amendment would add $5 million to STARBASE from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Operation and Maintenance, Defense Wide Budget. According to a press release distributed Monday, the requested federal funds are revenue neutral, as they would be redirected from previously authorized funds from one Department of Defense account to another.
Lowenthal was quoted, “Our 21st century economy requires 21st century skill sets. Investing in our children’s education in the STEM fields will make them better prepared for the job market and equipped for success."
According to the press release, Lowenthal authored a Congressional letter earlier this year, co-signed by 22 other members, to allocate $25 million to the STARBASE Program. Last year in July, Lowenthal authored a similar amendment providing STARBASE $5 million through the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for 2014. His amendment was adopted into the bill through a voice vote.
The STARBASE program, which is currently active on existing military bases in 56 Congressional districts, primarily serves students who are "under-represented in STEM," such as "students who live in inner cities or rural locations, those who are socio-economically disadvantaged, low in academic performance, or have a disability," according to a press release. STARBASE is geared toward elementary students, particularly fifth graders.